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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  December 22, 2012 11:00pm-12:00am EST

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next on booktv, robert watson looks at the history of scandal surrounding the intimate lives of u.s. presidents since 1789. this is a little under one hour. [applause] >> okay, can everyone hear me okay? i am robert watson. thanks for coming. welcome to lynn university, site of the third and final presidential debate this past the over 20 seconds and a quick note on some of those awards that i won for specific specific education. the topic i will be discussing today is not the topic --
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such is the point of clarification. that is black history month are women's history month or presidents' day. we are we are going to talk about my new book, "affairs of the state" and what i was trying to get at with the book was that rather than just tell stories about presidential history, the book is not just about the whodunit, but who did it and who didn't do it or with whom. i have tried to find a new lens and a new way of setting presidential characters. for example 12 years ago i read a book on the first lady and i thought it would be important to understand the presidents from a different angle. that is why not study the person that knew them the best? for example what possibly could i as an historian could should be to the body of knowledge on lincoln or george washington? pretty much everything that could be written about linking -- lincoln or washington probably has been written. the rate historians whose figures point to pouring through the letters and the evidence of a book on i can or the hundreds
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of books on washington. my thought was, why not look at that person in it than the best, the first ladies? historians have largely ignored the role of the first lady as they have largely ignored the role of -- in shaping the man. i suspect a lot of my colleagues tend to be older men, educated in a certain way that didn't study such matters and most historians most historians is that we say were not educated in matters of the heart. so therefore canon's crowns and kings are what folks focus on. in setting the first lady's for example the first thing thomas jefferson did after spending 17 days on the south side of philadelphia writing the declaration of independence, the first thing he did was he went shopping for martha, his wife. he missed her. she was pregnant and she had a miscarriage. he missed her and he bought her some gloves.
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then he went home to monticello city could be this way. every winter the revolutionary war, george washington suffering through the freezing weather valley forge was martha washington with her white bonnet. by starting the first ladies beget new insights on on the presidents and new insights on other things. apropos to my book washington -- -- alexander hamilton one of the chapters in the book talks about hamilton's history of womanizing. for example bill clinton was not the first and bill clinton was not the worst when it comes to misbehavior in high office. there's a long history of it and arnold schwarzenegger and john edwards, david petraeus had nothing on alexander hamilton. if you read for example letters written by martha washington going to the winter camp, she
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didn't complain about the weather. she didn't complain about the harsh conditions but she did complain about one thing. there was a was a tomcat one winter that was misbehaving and it was noisy and kept her awake at night so she nicknamed the tomcat alexander hamilton. because of all the young girls will come into the camp. i also did a book a few years ago called life in the white house about the presidents and these. what hobbies do they have? what were their fears and hopes and what did they -- or were they like his fathers and husbands as another way of stressing presidential characters providing us with another lens. we are all still trying to figure out -- and for example nixon in his free time like to bowl alone and sometimes wore a black suit to do it. that begins to explain things, right everyone? who does this? so i guess all books and up to
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being trilogies so here is the trilogy. "affairs of the state," try to take a different perspective on the presidents and for example we all know about george washington. we study washington and new york town. we study washington's dashing crossing of the delaware on christmas night which saved the revolution. but who were george washington girlfriends? you find that they teenage washington on more than one occasion goes back home in tears because he was turned down and writes roses are red violets are blue type of poems. he once wrote that at dart has been shot through my heart when yet another girl turned it down so this is another other work at -- a different look at washington. my professors didn't tell me about washington and the teenage girlfriends. i think it provides us with an
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important lens, new way of understanding the presidents. we all know that our country's leaders have oftentimes been shaped by the hand of a woman, often a mother, often a wife but i'm here to tell you sometimes business as well. is in the news today as we tape this program, general david petraeus is still dominating the headlines with his alleged affair and this behavior. relating to the book, what my first thought was when this happened when it came out was, during world war ii, general eisenhower was having a long-term affair with an attractive young british driver named kay summersby l.. what general hires a young female model to be his aide if you will instead of a major captain or medal winner? imagine if eisenhower's affair came out during world war ii and its happen has happened with petraeus, what if we got rid
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of -- before d-day? franklin roosevelt was having affairs. franklin roosevelt had two very long-term affairs. one with missy lehand ,-com,-com ma his personal aide and secretary and cook and dresser-rand undress her apparently too. what if we found out about fdr's misbehavior and what if we threw fdr out of office as the economy was recovering? all the way back to the french and indian war, very young george washington was writing romantic letters to a woman who was not mrs. washington. her name was sally terry fairfax, very attractive, older, sophisticated woman. what if washington letters have become public during the french and indian war or the revolutionary war? but just petraeus' e-mails
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became public and what if we got rid of george washington? bill clinton is not the first and not the worst in petraeus is not the first for the worse. in there ,-com,-com ma done that and there's a long history in infected pains me to say that even abraham lincoln visited a prostitute. i know, say it isn't so, right? but it happened. the details are sketchy and there's not a lot of letters written about this but here is what we can piece together. lincoln's best friend was joshua. >> speed and speed was as dashing and handsome and quote unquote lucky with the ladies as lincoln was unlucky and awkward and romance. speed felt sorry for lincoln in the eyes called each other by their last names, speed them again and speed invited lincoln to work in his general store and he didn't have a place to say so he let speed stay in the general store.
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during the friendship he was using the services of a professional -- and you imagine lincoln upstairs with a pillow over his head trying to mind his own business as speed is doing his business. link and basically says to speed, i have got to have a woman, it's been too long and here's what appears to have happened. only abraham lincoln would do this. it it appears the link and ask speed for a letter of introduction. [laughter] with a professional woman and i don't mean agriculture is the oldest profession. there was a predated agriculture. what we piece piece together as his lincoln visited the prostitute and he had maybe $2 with him which is a lot of money. not eliot spitzer money when you are visiting escorts but a pretty fair amount of money in the prostitute apparently charged five bucks. which was an enormous amount of money. so lincoln says to her maam, i have to tell you, honest abe,
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can't afford it. i only have three. she no speed so there's a possibility he will pay her when he gets the money. what we know is either a because lincoln got embarrassed or b his honor got the best of him but once she said to lincoln you can pay me later or this one is on the house, lincoln ran out the door. they say when you visit a prostitute there should always be happy ending. this is not from personal experience by the way but in this case it was not a happy ending. what i thought i would do for the main body of my remarks my remarks is to know you a couple of my favorite stories, not just about mistresses in history but more importantly about presidential characters. don't worry, there are some juicy stories here as well. oneone of them involves our 22nd and 24th presidents, grover cleveland. when grover cleveland was a young man there was a controversy because cleveland fathered a child out of wedlock
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with a woman named maria help and of pennsylvania. she might've been a prostitute. at the least, she was very casual about her relationships. now, cleveland was a bachelor and of course he is running in the 1880s and again in the 1990s so fathering out of wedlock was a big to do at the time. it was such a big to do for other reasons than one was that the republican opponents of cleveland that were james d. blamed the republican nominee in the roof of very brydges preachers, started the campaign that no woman in the country is safe. lock your doors. cleveland is prowling the streets debauching young women. a really aggressive campaign attacking cleveland. so it became a huge story because they wouldn't let it go. one of the things that saves cleveland as it turns out that james g. blaine like to get more affairs in cleveland and his
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wife miraculously gave her the six months after they got married. blaine was keeping all this consternation on cleveland and the one thing we dislike more than a politician is a hypocritical politician. the other thing that made a bit of a scandal was the republicans were pushing this issue and they would have a little, kind of a jingle, little song, a rhyme that they would do and they would say mama, where's my pop? cleveland's love child, mama, where's my pop? with the limits of presidency the democrats use that saying. it's kind of a democratic rejoinder but what made it scandalous, grover cleveland's best friend and law partner was a guy named oscar fulsome.
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cleveland was born in new jersey and he spent most of his career in buffalo. he was a very successful lawyer and he and oscar were partners. they practice law together and they went out together and they would go out drinking and being together and it appears they enjoyed the services of maria halpern and together so when maria halpern and gets pregnant she has a son and neither knew who the father was. maria complicates things by naming the child oscar cleveland oscar fulsome had been married and had a daughter, frances. wheatland was a bachelors of cleveland accepted the responsibility and put the child in an orphanage. here's the other part of the scandal. oscar fulsome dies a few years later in a carriage accident. he is thrown from an apparently breaks his neck.
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he leaves a widow and a young girl frances and globe -- rover leave and make some enormous amount of money and cleveland takes care of the widow and the young girl, pays for them and sets them up in a nice home, best friend and former law partner. he becomes a godfather to little girl frances. they are very close and she calls him on quickly. he calls her frankie. he pacer center to college and she goes to wells college and an age when women weren't really educated. what happened is as frances was growing up cleveland's relationship with her changes from uncle cleve to godfather to a romantic interest. cleveland start sending her letters with poems and sensor roses. it's the full-court press on courting her. he proposes marriage. he's old enough to be your father or grandfather. he is her godfather.
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she is 21 years old, the same age as monica something or other who once went to the white house and he proposes marriage. what mrs. fulsome the widow does is she thinks her daughter needs time so she takes her daughter on a tour on a ship in the tour europe. it gives her time to conflict -- contemplate. what happens is cleveland mrs. his love interest so he writes a bunch of love letters. he sent an agent of his homage vote out to intercept france's fulsome heading to europe and they deliver all these love letters. what happens is the love letters become public. they become public. people are fascinated with cleveland's romance but cleveland is kind of off the hook because in his love letters frances, probably like a lot of you, he he calls her nicknames in and terms of endearment,
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cupcake, pumpkin, whatever. many people in the press think that cleveland is trying to court the widow who is only a few years his junior and they don't realize it's frances. what happens is people are getting smart to do so as frances comes back from her european tour, the widow goes to the harbor report in new york but cleveland sends a ship to get frances, kind of like a swashbuckling johnnie depp movie, she climbs on the side of the ship and she gets on the presence boat and unbeknownst to the press she goes back to the white house. the paparazzi, the more things change the more they stay the same, the paparazzi is really to dissent on her and the widow that south, the paparazzi -- in his secret service he marries his 21-year-old god daughter sews a huge scandal.
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the scandal is a short-term scandal. the reason why is frances fulsome cleveland turns out to be one of the most beloved and capable first ladies in history. jack kennedy was only 31 when she became first lady but she was only the third youngest. frances is much younger, only 21. frances becomes sort of a fashion while model, much like jackie kennedy was. everything frances wore women wanted to wear. her haircut, every woman needed a haircut. everybody had to have her clothing. she became one of the most beloved, probably the most popular woman in the country. all across the country people named their daughter's frances and named their son's frances as she was a great first lady. first lady. there was a funny story, they were once waiting outside. cleveland spent a lot of his part -- presidency in the home
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for privacy. they are waiting for clevelancleveland and frances to go out and picnic and cleveland is out there talking to the press and frances doesn't show up and she doesn't show up. cleveland is getting really irritated so he says to the press, there is no story, there is no picnic in the go storming into the house. the press did not wait. they knew cleveland and frances. a few minutes later frances comes out of the front door and over -- grover cleveland follows throughout the her out the front door and sheepishly ways. frances was all dolled up and ready to go. campaign literature in the 1880s and 90s even had cleveland's -- next to frances. they were using the first lady to promote his campaign in the 1890s so she became one of the great first ladies. another interesting standalone history involves one of the most wild and interesting presidents and that is andrew jackson. now, jackson's wife, her name
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was rachel donaldson and when rachel donaldson was a young teenager her father was a colonel, settled what we now know today is knoxville, settled hennessee and colonel donaldson took a group of white settlers and half the territory out in the woods and fought indians in that sort of stuff. in the settlement, rachel, his daughter sort of became a debbie taunt, the daughter of the most prominent man in the tennessee region. young rachel is a bit controversial because she does what a proper girl ought not to do. against her parents wishes she runs away and marries an older man is a ne'er-do-well. his name is luis robards and if it fears -- appears robards might've been physically abusive with her and he loses one thing after another but he accuses her of all sorts of things and at the least was very abusive toward her. so this is a big scandal.
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she does what a proper girl ought not to do a second time. she leaves robards and goes back home. couple of things happen. women legally could could not divorce so she has to ask robards for a divorce. also washes back home her father and some of her brothers and a lot of the men in the settlements are killed. you can imagine young rachel's mother and herself living in this hostile territory alone. it appears that rachel's mother much like many mothers who are playing matchmakematchmake r, they opened up their large home for borders. one of the borders that came and stayed at the place was a six-foot two-inch dashing circuit judge, piercing blue eyes and a heck of a temper, andrew jackson. the two of them fall in love. so they write to louis robards and he grants rachel for
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divorce. jackson and rachel mary and in the history of white house weddings marriages, it's one of the better ones. there've been some strange and and -- this is one of the better marriages. here's the problem. after getting married they find out louis robards with such a ne'er-do-ne'er-do- well that even though he said he would grant the divorce he never got around to granting the divorce a rachel was married to two two-minute the same time. called the lady bigamists she was the most scandalous woman so you all probably know that andrew jackson fought a lot of tools. in answer to the question why did jackson fight duels, was it because of policy differences or was it because of what men set about his wife, which was true? the answer is c. yeah. c. jackson had a hairtrigger temper to defend rachel's honor.
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he shot and killed managed flawed men in the streets over rachel's honor so of course this further expands the scandal over rachel's marriage. at one point jackson is walking down the road and sees two men that he is in disagreement with. a proper dual back in those days you go to an official dueling ground and you would have a second with you in case they chickened out they would have to people officiating. jackson was such a hothead and we see these two men. he demand satisfaction and right there in the streets, jackson apparently does not a pistol and as he is drawing his sword he is shot in the shoulder and almost loses his arm. this is the kind of hothead he is in defending his wife's honor. at one point he is doing a fellow named dickinson who is apparently quite shy, almost a male annie oakley, a great
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shooter. at the county fair shifting -- shooting an apple off of someone's head. this is natural selection. and what jackson does is, dickinson shoots jackson right in the chess. it's so close to his heart that he cannot have the bullet removed. jackson reels backwards but does not fall down, to the point where his opponent yells out in now, could i have missed? jackson turns his hand away and these filling up with blood. now it's his turn to shoot and jackson lines up to shoot back and his opponent runs. they have to grab him and drag him back. i'm sure his pants were full of something to. of as he goes to shoot the pistol misfires.
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imagine the suspense. he gets a second pistol and kills his opponent. without medical attention without falling he goes back and according to paper counts something to the effect of my god shot him straight to the brain with the bullet that killed them. do you think the public love that that guy? as presidential timber right there. he does that for rachel's honor. in 1824 jackson beats john quincy adams in the election. he wins the popular vote but the electoral college flips in the loses the popular vote. i'm speaking speaking of palm beach counties so you know about the scenarios. checks and wins the popular vote. he comes back in four years in 1828 in beats john quincy adams and in 1828 is probably the second nastiest election in american history. of course with this current one
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being the nastiest with a negative ads and such. there's no love lost -- loss. jackson supporters don't call john quincy adams your excellency. they call him your fraudulent seat. they call jackson a white thief and his wife a of tennessee sohtz is huge scandal to the point that rachel donaldson jackson becomes increasingly religious every passing year. to the point where now all of the scandal about her really affecting her mental health and physical health. she is hoping and praying that jackson does not win, that she doesn't have to go to the white house sewer scandal becomes a national story. she is hoping and writing letters. she doesn't want to go there. right after jackson wins the election, before the inauguration in 1829 she dies of a broken heart.
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jackson says, my opponents, their vicious tongues killed her. she died of a broken heart. so in fact she is buried on christmas eve in the gown that she is going to wear to the inaugural. jackson goes to the inauguration and there's hell to pay. jackson says, my wife was an angel who has forgiven my an ace but i never can. the scandal continues on at the white house. jackson needs a first lady. someone to plan menus and preside over social events, seating and so forth and so on. jackson doesn't have any children so he doesn't have a daughter. his wife is to see so he's looking for presiding first lady, hostess. around the same time jackson's best friend and fellow tennessee politician. jackson appoints appoints ian axe secretary of war.
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today we call it secretary of defense under harry truman after world war ii. jackson appoints eaton has secretary of war. here's the scandal. there was a young girl in washington d.c.. the calder little peg, peggy o'neal and her father owned a tavern. this tavern was a tavern/boarding house where jackson and be and other politicians when they go to washington they would board their but in truth it was a tavern/boarding house/brothel. little peg, the daughter, peggy o'neal was sort of the most popular attractioattractio n at the boarding house. you can picture her like a mae west coming down the steps. she would sing and perform. she was known to sit on all a politician slaps. she was the sort of dashing figure, have frances diane, half
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may west. that is peggy o'neal. peggy o'neal runs away against her father's wishes and marries a guy in timberlake and while timberlake is at sea for your peggy gives birth to the first child and while he he is a seed for another year she has another child with him so it's a huge scandal. timberlake may have jumped overboard and committed suicide. jackson appoints be nasa's secretary of war. eaton announces that he is marrying little peg o'neal timberlake. basically the of washington. now there has been all the scandal that jackson's wife is going to be first lady. now basically jackson asks dean's new wife to be the hostess at the white house. to preside at the knocker rupaul
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and they would say the mistress of the white house which has a different meaning today. is a huge scandal. jackson's cabinet, most of his cabinet boycotts inartful ceremonies and they don't meet as a cabinet. takes jackson month -- months because the cabinet wives would not allow the cabinet husbands to be with jackson because little peg would be there and who knows about the relationship between jackson and little peg when they were in congress? the congressional wives are basically agreed -- bringing government to a standstill. this was over peggy and the cabinet wives. daniel webster had a popular toast in washingtwashingt on in reference to this. he would say here's the next cabinet, may they all be bachelors or widowers. they called a petticoat government so the wives were disrupting things. doing this month and months in
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gridlock almost every -- opposed peggy. all of them except one. more on that in the moment. eventually jackson buyers them basically because the little peg. peggy o'neal timberlake eden. will ultimatelultimatel y ultimately after two terms as president, jackson was so popular he could have won a third term. he was beloved by the people despite the scandal or perhaps because of the scandal. the masses loved ender jackson. jackson could run for another term but some of his opponents had spent years badmouthing little peg and before that badmouth his wife so it's personal for jackson. jackson reaches out to one cabinet member, one member of his inner circle. about the only member of the inner circle who did not say bad things about tech and always went to meetings and gives that person to run in his place.
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that is martin van buren. the little magician as they called him. otherwise rather an irrelevant politician. martin van buren continues his legacy and martin van buren wins. he's the only ally to jackson he does not treat peg badly. why was van buren the only cabinet member who goes to the meetings? van buren was a widower. it ties into the whole cabinet wives so little peg impacted the outcome of a presidential election in 1836. so here is the punchline. eaton dies, secretary of war and he is older than little peg and he did well financially so little peg lives well in washington d.c. has this extravagant window that everyone gossips about. little peg goes to all the
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parties and is the main source of gossip. little peg shocks everyone. she is a grandmother now and she marries a man decades younger than her and a ballet dancer. i think his name was antonio. he is the ballet teacher for her granddaughter. she marries him so share, madonna, all the cougars in boca raton have nothing on little peg. she marries a man decades younger and there's this huge controversy. they are out traveling in one day she wakes up and he is gone. she goes back home and finds out he went back to the home and cleaned her up. takes her granddaughter and goes back to italy so now she is desperate. all these entitlement programs. little peg is now this widow living basically in poverty. when she dies, she is buried in
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the uppity cemetery because she is the wife of the eaton and one of the obituaries, the women tend -- women of washington is hated her. the obituary said while the women of washington may have hated her when chu is live, she is now our neighbor forever. lemmie do one more story and then we will take some questions. george washington arguably one of the greatest if not the greatest americans ever. who else among the founders and framers could have taken a ragtag band of poorly educated farmers and blacksmitblacksmit h and defeated the world's greatest military? not ben franklin, nagy james madison, only george. part of the reason why his story focuses on his marriage and affairs was because somehow to suggest washington was not a self eight-man would be seen as diminishing him and doesn't everybody claim to be a
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self-made man? is a matter of fact a lot of them are mother made men, mistress made men or women made men and washington could have been all of the above. here is the story. when george was a young man, he had a great goal of being a gentleman planter and an officer in the british military. he won to be very important. the problem for george was this. while his father augustinaugustin e did okay, george was the firstborn son of a second marriage and when augustine died when george was a little late august and left almost everything to his sons from his first marriage because augustine had a rotten marriage with the second line. she was a high maintenance whiny, everybody watch "seinfeld"? remember george's mother? i have always thought if we did a movie of this we we would cast her. george had a strained relationship with his mother said so george grows up without his father and the benefits of a powerful father silly grows up
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uneducated. he longs to be this great man on the world stage and a british officer in such. washington basically tries to court older wealthy women and as a kiddie shows up in homes of leading families in the tidewater region of virginia outside of washington. basically knocking on the door of a broken down -- and probably hole in his trousers and you can imagine these father slamming the door in his face. george would go back and write poetry about a broken heart over this. george has a plan to marry an older wealthy women to do this. when is he young man he made -- meets sally fairbanks -- having read some of the surviving accounts i believe that they felt strongly for one another. beyond that i don't know how
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much more but here's what we do know. sally was older than george. sally was considered not the most beautiful man woman of the area. sally was talkative, wise, funny, apparently she had a beautiful voice. she was everything and george is this big, raw ambitious teenager who is surveying and milking house basically. george, can imagine him, he's a survey of sally's husband. the in a mansion george leaning on a shovel -- [inaudible] they develop this interesting relationship where she becomes his mentor and away and she invites him to some of her parties. he is sitting basically at her side. she introduces george as the important art of social discourse. she teaches him how to act improper company, chew with your mouth shut, you know?
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she introduces him to the kind of connections he would need later in life to be the george washington that history knows. i think he pines away for her. what we know is that during the french and indian war some of his acts of heroism, horses shot out from under him, he suggests perhaps his heroism, he wanted to look good in her eyes. either way what we know is george becomes george partly because of sally. he is in his 20s now and still not a gentleman planter. he is still not on the stage. he is a young kind of pitch record on the battlefield, colonial officer which is not being a british regiment and he is traveling back to me with a colonial governor, a fellow named dinwiddie and he passes by the home of the fellow named chamberlain who is a prominent
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neighbor and attorney. we don't have any letters from chamberlain or george to describe this but here's later martha washington's grandson would tell the story. here's what he says. george is traveling and he is in a hurry to get to williamsburg. you can imagine a ambitious george is going to meet with the governor. he stops to water his horses that chamberlain's home and chamberlain says won't you join me for dinner? george come according to martha's grandson, says no i have to get to williamsburg and chamberlain apparently says it's a shame because joining me for dinner today is none other than the wealthiest widow in all of virginia who was older than george. so i don't know fits chitchatting or love at first sight, we don't know what is the george changes his mind and stays for dinner and this was when george matt martha. now, the letters between george
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and martha don't exist but according to martha's grandson ,-com,-com ma george would die in mid-december and martha lived until early may of 18 two. during that period a lot of the letters disappear. maybe martha burned them but during this time after george's death martha never goes back to the bedroom. she stays in the small private room in mount vernon and tells her grandkids about george. here is what we do know. george and martha matt. martha goes back to one of her four mentions and you all know what i'm talking about. one of her four mentions and george meets the pony of governor. thereafter there is a letter written from george to a london merchant named robert kerry requesting an engagement. what we know is that george moved with lightning speed. martha was a good catch and marrying martha put george on the social and financial and
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political stage, did it not? it gave george the connections he would need to be the george of history. she had four sons -- for children and she lost her husband, lost her father and her father-in-law. she is managing these massive plantations in raising children by herself in that day and age in here's a tall, strapping, heroic handsome hard-working young man. i think it was the perfect marriage and if george had not stopped a chamberlain's house, although one of the spokesman police george was one of the greatest americans have ever lived. it would not have been george at all. and with that, i am happy to take questions. [applause] happy to take questions. at either lineup here or shout it out loud and i worked for
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-- i will repeat it. questions? in the front. [inaudible] >> the question as historians read the letters to sally and george and martha and read the letters of martha calling the tomcat hamilton. reading letters of speed and lincoln about his love life so what is going to happen his question? today we don't write letters. we send tweets on twitter with less than 140 characters. we pick up a cell phone or we tax someone and when you tech someone you don't even use vowels. the concern is that in the future we are liable to lose a lot of that nuance. think about it. a great source of this is, i read letters of blood say senate
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wives and they would go to the white house. if you go to the white house are you going to tell your friends what was served at dinner, what michelle obama were, who was there and what was senator so-and-so really like? what obama said to you when he shook her hand and what about that spoon that fell onto your jacket? today we pick up the cell and call someone and we have lost the more we tax someone and we don't describe the ambience, the music. we will say a obama obama cool or senator so-and-so. 200 years ago bibas it down and composed several lengthy letters that provided the nuance, the context. we know what the weather was uncertain days during george's life because he took notice of the weather. we know how many hoc said head of cattle he slaughtered on a particular day. he bortell down. today we are losing all that and the internet provides a great
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way for all of us to do our research. the internet provides a way of connecting people but also with all the new technology we could be losing a lot so historians and another 100 years are going to have a rough time. today we seem to be extra cognizant of the impact of the damning letter. i think historically to some extent also, one thing george washington did later in life as he tried to collect, and revise or added some of his earlier letters. george is trying to collect letters to rewrite them to -- jefferson was sometimes right with an i.t. history and perhaps put himself in a favorable light before the event happens of history would review benezet wow jefferson was on the right side of history. when you read washington and jefferson and others ,-com,-com ma it's tough to do. you have to understand, was this
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really what they meant or were they just lowing small? the same way when you go back to class reunion and if you meet someone and send them in a -- e-mail, you don't tell them they looked horrible look horrible and they look 30 years older than you, do you? congratulations on the new job so we don't know about this, that in the other things i think it's going to be a great struggle in history. questions, yes sir? here comes the microphone. >> first, the regulations on the book. i finished it and it's wonderful. it's like sitting in my room and hearing you speak. i noticed -- [inaudible] [laughter] >> i noticed that this the worst of either two parts or a series and can you tell us about your plans for the second book? >> this book covers presidential affairs, mistresses, love lives all the way up until 1900.
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the irony here is when you're talking about the history of scandal in politics there's so much information you have to go to multiple volumes of the book. i would submit that it's a quick 400 or 500 page read that there is so much there, this book would have been this big. the book is not just about scandals but it's also about love lives and just true love and how that inspired presidents and inspired first ladies and others. what i will do over the next couple of years is due another edition of the starting with teddy roosevelt a few well and move my way forward and of course indigo to warren harding, woodrow wilson, i don't want to give away the book but dwight eisenhower, franklin roosevelt, probably the worst dog and hendry -- history john kennedy. i may have to stretch this to three or four so stay tuned and perhaps the series will send my
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kids to college so thanks for that. >> during the research have you discovered similar stories about the private lives of justices of the supreme court, or are they just above reproach? >> the question about the private lives and justices of the supreme court and other politicians. like i said, the more things change. what you find is throughout history the drama, the plot stays the same in this great production of history. just the actors change. early presidents were struggling with issues of privacy. for example john quincy adams wife, the only first lady to be born abroad in england, she was a very private woman and they had a poor marriage. they fought a lot and she blamed her husband for some problems the children had. one of the kids may have committed suicide or may have been drunk and fallen off a boat
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and drowned, we are not sure but she blamed him and was angry about that. supreme court justices wrestled with great decisions in history. do i do what is right or do what i think is popular? sometimes the devil was right and sometimes they didn't. like plessy versus ferguson to dred scott in other cases and more recently with citizens united. members of congress were dealing with conflicts of interest and dealing with lobbyists but there's a fantastic new spielberg movie, lincoln that is spot on and shows lincoln basically bribing unsavory corrupt members of congress to get votes but like it was willing to twist arms to do business with those folks to get the 13th amendment passed in 1865 to end slavery. who among us would not stoop to in this horrible abomination so lobbyists, you find the same
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kind of drama in the same kind of story and same kind of struggles. first families have to raise children in what is essentially a public fishbowl. is difficult to raise kids, difficult to be married and difficult to hold a job and balance your life and find harmony imagine doing it at the white house where everything you do is public information? we saw a early families bringing children into the building and grandchildren into the building and struggling with it as well. >> i have a brief question and then a comment. the question is, to george and martha have any children of their own? >> to george and martha have children on their own? no, martha had four kids to her first husband. his name was daniel part hustuss and by the way he was 20 years her senior. he was very wealthy. she had four children with him. after a few years of marriage his father, martha's father, to the kids are dead.
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she is running what today would be a fortune 500 company. what martha did was then her two children that survived, her daughter had always suffered with epilepsy and at age 17 she falls over the dinner table and dies of an epileptic seizure. martha was really never the same again. then they had one surviving son. he is kind of a ne'er-do-well so it's a embarrassment to george. here is george leading the revolution and his own adopted son is not in the fight. martha lost four of her five kids so she will not let him go to war, the same way mrs. lincoln in the movie shows she lost two of her four kids and won't let robert go to war. about the time if yorktown shield smiley allow us to allow
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her oldest son to be in a to camp so he can help george with correspondence. he goes and contracts fever and dies. he leaves behind for young children. georgia tops the youngest two so george is then adoptive father and they never children. >> there's an interesting article in "the new york times" last week about the mistresses daughter who is a writer and at his funeral to mr. send the wife were next to each other, one arm around the other and it was an interesting comment on how the french treat these relations. >> on the book i talk about is this unique to america, that the public is fascinated with the scandal? i think there are reasons to be angry at bill clinton reasons to not be angry at bill clinton over the monica lewinsky thing
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but at one level you could say the economy was moving and we were at peace and things were happening and we are angry because the president received essential favors from a young woman. here's a newsflash. well, read the book. whereas in france, the joke is they wouldn't elect a leader who didn't have the stresses. i don't want a gelding in this race. so what we see is the marriages tend to have i guess a bit more as a prudish view toward sexual affairs than folks around the world and in the end of the book in the last chapter i offer some comparisons. this thing happens all around the world that we in the united states tend to be more infatuated because of our freedoms and because we don't have a royal family that we can be fascinated with. the president becomes a monarch and if resident. i don't know what it is, up that yeah frances had a number of
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leaders with multiple mistresses who have shown that the state events and shown up at funerals. yes, maam? >> have you noticed any correlation between performance in the bedroom, in other words more girls -- >> did i notice similarities or differences between performance and performance and a veteran the veteran performance in the white house? that is kind of cute. i've never been asked that before. i wasn't there in the bedroom but i do try to read the letters and beat and historic academic. here's what i would say. again and i'm not condoning any of this. this is not a how-to manual and it's not in advocacy book. is an insight into the characters. character's. here's what i would say. i would suspect that everyone in this room and everyone watching or reading the book would rather have a howard with a mistress
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running world war ii veteran and competent general who was loyal to his wife. i think everyone would take an fdr and enamel second in the white house over a miller p. fillmore who did not misbehave. i think folks would suggest they think bill clinton's record is appeared to jimmy carter's record and i would submit, and therefore i would take george on the battlefield writing love letters to sally fairfax in a minute. began this is not green lighting it. what we have seen our great leaders in world history and perhaps not measured up in terms of morality, but who's to say? on the other hand we have seen great leaders. one precedent i'm quite certain that there was never any affairs and 90-point -- 99-point 9-9-9 is harry truman. there's a great line and i put the clothes quotes in the book where truman goes to europe and
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like so many prominent leaders, the these young aides talked to truman and say what do you like? redheads, blondes, brunettes? true men says i am married to the only woman i have ever kissed. i will run you out of the army and no one permitted it around him so yes there have been good loving marriages and true men and best exchange to life the letters throughout their life. i mention some mentioned some of them in the book that i will discuss in great detail but a quick example. late in life they are exchanging these marvelous love letters and truman forces hard out. you are more beautiful to me today than the day they met and i remember that grow with curls and bright blue eyes. so he says, he goes in and he
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walks into the living room and best is sitting there with a shoebox full of love letters and rating them. she starts throwing them in a fireplace the fireplace so harry says mike god -- and she says i am. [laughter] last question because we are out of time. in the movie lincoln, mary todd linton for trade crackly? mary todd lincoln was a fascinating woman. she was flirtatious, love politics, witty, controversial but she was also high maintenance, chronically depressed. she loses almost all of her male relative string the war. she lost her mother which was a child is like lincoln did. the north does not trust her because her family -- and the self does not trust her because she marries lincoln. she uses -- loses for sun center
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life. she was high maintenance and was all over the place. the movie depicted that. they had a strange marriage. it was almost like people who could live with one another but couldn't live without one another. animal instincts but fought all the time. he did fall -- he did honor her opinion. at one moment she would be offering it vice in the next moment embarrassing him in public. the movie did a good job of wringing out the complexities of that. i am robert watson, "affairs of the state" and i appreciate your attention. thank you. [applause]
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>> wanted you things you learn when you read about children of alcoholics, a child like bill clinton begins to feel like he has the responsibility of appealing to that family, of redeeming it and creating on e-readers dishonor and he basically sets out to be the person who is going to rescue the family. he is at the front of his class. he becomes active in boys nation which is a junior american legion, gets nominated to go to washington as the candidate for u.s. senate. goes to washington and he is artie's six feet tall. he strives to the frontline when they go to the white house to
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see president kennedy and when kennedy finishes his speech bill clinton goes forward and gets his picture taken alongside of john f. kennedy. he is so proud and these already dedicated to the idea that he is going to be the person who is going to bring complete honor to this family. by the age of 17 he is already planning to be elected attorney general and then governor of arkansas and president of the united states. this is something which everyone who knows him knows about because he talks about all the time. he does not go to the university of arkansas. he goes to george tenet from georgetown he becomes the arkansas candidate for the fellowship and goes to oxford. he's an incrediblincredibl e success everywhere but he cannot have an ongoing relationship with a woman. he is attracted to the kind of women his mother directs them to who are the beauty queens, the ones who are flirtatious, who are attractive and that is where you size it then.
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until he cantelli comes back to yell law school. there he meets hillary rodham. >> watch this and other programs on line at now on c-span2 we bring you booktv. on this holiday weekend we have extended our booktv programming until wednesday ,-com,-com ma december 26 at 8:00 a.m. eastern. here are some of the programs to look out for this weekend.


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